Who's Laughing?


Hubley Hand-Painted Cast Iron Donkey Bottle Opener (LEO Design)

We're three months away from the 2022 General Election!  I'm not sure (yet) if this ornery little donkey is laughing or screaming.  (Check-back in November!)  As for me, I'll be spending Election Day volunteering as a poll worker at my neighborhood site, a short two blocks away from my home.  It's at the Soldiers & Sailors' Memorial Hall, here in Oakland (Pittsburgh's "second city").  It's a long day: 6:00 am until 9:00 pm (sometimes 10:00 pm, depending on how quickly we can close-down the machines and organize the paperwork).  Now I know why Election Night returns trickle-in, especially from busy, urban districts.

The Soldiers & Sailors' Memorial Hall is a heroic, Beaux-Arts building, designed in 1907 (the same year my house was built) by legendary Pittsburgh architect Henry Hornbostel.  It was dedicated in 1910 as a site to honor veterans in all branches of military service—especially the many Union soldiers who served from this area.  At its center stands a grand, galleried "lecture and music hall" with a shallow stage.  The words of Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address preside from the back wall of the stage.  Up to 2,300 people can be seated in the hall where Barack Obama spoke in 2008.

Surrounding the central auditorium are galleries filled with glass cases—each one presenting historical relics, mostly from the Civil War (weapons, uniforms, photos, documents, musical instruments).  As such, it's a military museum.  And a polling site.  We spend that very long day in the "Gettysburg Room."

Although America's military adventures have not always been perfect.  Some of our wars—let's call them the "righteous wars"—have been fought to protect Democracy, expand Freedom, stop dictators, quell Authoritarianism.  This is why elections are so important: through elections, we install the leaders who will set the moral character of our country for the next several years.  He (or she) will move America in one of two directions: toward or away from democratic norms and freedoms; toward or away from ruthless Authoritarianism.  With our vote, we choose between expanding Democracy or inviting Autocracy.

This little cast iron donkey is a bottle opener.  He was made by Hubley shortly after World War II.  He is wonderfully hand-painted and is a handsome sculpture—when he's not helping to open a bottle.  Click on the photo above to learn more about him.


Though our Greenwich Village store is now permanently closed, LEO Design is still alive and well!  Please visit our on-line store where we continue to sell Handsome Gifts (www.LEOdesignNYC.com)

We also can be found in Pittsburgh's historic "Strip District" at Mahla & Co. Antiques (www.mahlaantiques.com) or in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania at The Antique Center of Strabane (www.antiquecenterofstrabane.com).

Or call to arrange to visit our Pittsburgh showroom (by private appointment only).  917-446-4248